McDonald's earnings dive 30 percent. Can Monopoly salvage the slide?

McDonald's reported a 30 percent drop in third quarter earnings Tuesday, and McDonald's store operators are heavily relying on the chain's Monopoly promotion to stop the current sales slide. 

Ng Han Guan/AP/FIle
A man rests outside a McDonald's restaurant in Beijing. McDonald's reported a 30 percent drop in Q3 on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.

Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Mark Kalinowski has lowered his projection of McDonald’s Corp.’s September same-store sales to -3.6% from -2.5% based on a survey of 32 domestic franchisees’ opinions. The company reported a 30% earnings drop in Q3 on Oct. 21; the consensus forecast for September was -2.7%.

The Janney survey also finds that McDonald’s operators are heavily relying on the current Monopoly promotion to stop the ongoing sales slide.  “Everything depends on Monopoly,” one franchisee told Kalinowski.

“Hopefully Monopoly will give us a few more transactions,” said another. “Sales are trending down but Monopoly will help sales since it [did] in the summer of 2013 even if it will not help profits,” another operator said. “I am counting on Monopoly to stop the bleeding,” said another.

One franchisee said, “McRib should prevent further declines.” But the company has said that this fall’s McRib promotion will be a local option, not a national effort, which could reduce marketing support.

So what’s gone wrong? Franchisees pin blame for McDonald’s sales slide on a number of factors. “We just have nothing new to offer our customers,” was one explanation. Another cites “total loss of momentum.” Corporate management is a frequent target for these operators. “We are leaderless,” says one franchisee. “McDonald’s Corp. is scrambling to find answers to their problem,” says another.

Asked if the chain has followed through on its stated intentions to streamline the menu and simplify kitchen operations, most of the operators interviewed echo the one who told Kalinowski, “Nothing but lip service; not a serious initiative.” Says another: “They simplify…and then just add more products. I don’t think that anyone at McDonald’s really has a strong vision for the brand in the USA.”

“Going in the other direction with all the talk about customization,” says one franchisee, while another complains that streamlining “will take much more than eliminating crinkled pickles, and a couple of things like that. We have heard over and over about the menu being simplified with no action. Maybe this time they will follow through with their promise. They are finally admitting that the vast menu has killed our service times. It also makes it next to impossible for our crew in the kitchen, not to mention our people taking the orders in the drive-thru and on the front counter.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to McDonald's earnings dive 30 percent. Can Monopoly salvage the slide?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today